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What You Should Know About Injunctions To Prevent Repeat Violence In Florida

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An injunction, also known as a restraining order, protective injunction, or protective order, is a court order issued against another individual that legally requires them to refrain from committing specific actions. Violating the terms under an injunction order is a severe crime in Florida, one that can lead to serious penalties.

If you’ve been charged with violating an injunction against repeat violence in Florida, you must learn and read as much as possible about the charge. In this article, we’ll provide a general overview of what you need to know about injunctions against repeat violence in Florida.

What is an Injunction Against Repeat Violence?

To properly define injunction against repeat violence, you must first understand how the state determines the legal concept of violence. Under Florida law, violence is any assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, sexual assault, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, stalking, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death by an individual against another.

Florida Statutes Section 784.042(2) states that someone subject to repeat violence can petition for an injunction. Repeat violence for which two incidents of stalking or violence were committed by the respondent, one of which happened within six months of the petition filing.

The petitioner must fear violence at the hands of the respondent. This petition can be applied to individuals such as co-workers, neighbors, students, or relatives who never lived with the petitioner.

What Are Ways to Violate an Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence?

There are various ways to violate a protective injunction. The best way to avoid unknowingly violating the court order is by learning about what is considered a violation.

Depending on the specifics of the protective injunction, an individual may be charged with a violation if they commit the following acts:

  • The defendant is within 500 feet of the petitioner’s house, place of employment, school, or a specified location frequented by the petitioner and any named household or family member.
  • The defendant is committing a violent act against the petitioner.
  • The defendant communicates or contacts the petitioner directly or indirectly unless the injunction explicitly permits third-party communication.
  • The defendant is intentionally or knowingly coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s vehicle, whether it is occupied or not.
  • The defendant refuses to surrender ammunition or firearms if ordered by the court.
  • The defendant is destroying or defacing the petitioner’s personal property, including their vehicle.
  • The defendant is committing any other violation through intentional unlawful threat, act, or word to do with violence to the petitioner.
  • The defendant is refusing to leave the house or properties that the parties share.

What Will Happen if You Violate a Repeat Violence Injunction?

A violation of an injunction order can turn it into a criminal charge or process. There are multiple consequences for violating an injunction. A violation of a repeat violence injunction is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.

It has penalties of a $1,000 fine, up to 1 year of jail time, and 12 months probation period. In some instances, an individual can be charged with a felony offense of aggravated stalking if there are several violations of the protective injunction and the violations are to threaten or harass.

How Long Does a Repeat Violence Injunction Last?

The best source to find the answer is the court order itself. Read the injunction thoroughly, as the length of time tends to vary widely from case to case.

Remember that under Florida Statute Section 784.046(7)(c), a circuit court judge can permanently order the protective injunction to remain in effect. The injunction lasts permanently unless it is modified or dissolved by the issuing court.

Though either person can ask the court to dissolve or modify the injunction order, neither side can change the terms of the court order without obtaining explicit permission from the court.

What Are the Defenses of a Violation of Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence?

You can use several defenses and strategies to contest an injunction violation charge. The most common ones are:

Lack of Notice of Injunction

Notice and awareness of the injunction are essential elements of the charge of injunction violation. A conviction cannot be sustained, and a motion for judgment of acquittal needs to be granted where the state fails to prove to the court that the defendant was served with the injunction order or has some other means of notice.

Lack of Intent to Violate

The prosecution must prove that the defendant willfully and intentionally violated the injunction’s terms. The defendant’s action must be done ‘purposely and knowingly.’

Often, the defendant is unaware of the full scope of the injunction’s prohibitions or genuinely believes that their action complied with the order. If the violation was not intentional, this could serve as a defense to the charge.

Mistakes as to the Effect, Meaning, or Scope of the Injunction

If well-founded and reasonable, a mistaken belief regarding the protective injunction’s meaning, effect, or scope can prove an excellent defense to the violation charge. The violation charge is arguably not willful if there is an honest mistake or misunderstanding.

A typical and common example is where the defendant is ordered to have no contact with the supposed victim. Often, the judge does not explain the no-contact provision in full detail and scope. Thus, it can be unclear what no contact means—if it only pertains to direct communication or encompasses indirect and third-party contact.

No Intentional Contact

The state of Florida must prove that the defendant intentionally made contact with the alleged victim. Thus, if the defendant communicates with the alleged victim through a third party, and the said third party, without the defendant asking, relays the message to the victim. That is not intentional.

Other Injunction Issued

Sometimes, a defendant accused of injunction violation is subject to two conflicting injunctions at the time of the alleged violation. If this were the case, the alleged violation of one protective injunction is arguably not intentional or willful. It is as long as the defendant complied with the other injunction and believed that the other protective injunction was in legal effect at the time of the alleged violation.

Seek Out a Skilled Attorney to Build A Defense For Your Injunction Violation Charge

Facing the prospect of being charged with violating a repeat violence injunction can be frightening. An active injunction can negatively impact your life in more ways than one.

The best course of action to defend yourself against the violation charge is to hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney specializing in injunction cases. A lawyer can help challenge the repeat violence injunction by drawing on legal precedents and other arguments.

Contact our attorneys at Hanlon Law to build a viable defense to work and use on your case. We can assist you in fighting the charge or minimizing the potential penalties you might face.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Hanlon Law
210 N Pierce St
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 228-7095

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